An 11-year-old boy befriends aliens after they crash their UFO into his house. In return for Luis’s help in finding the home-shopping channel stuff they came for, they save Luis from boarding school—and an exciting adventure follows.
The high-quality animated film Luis and the Aliens is funny and engaging, skipping along so that it feels more like a half-hour show rather than a full-length movie. This well-written story launches the viewer directly into the sad life of Luis, a young teen who basically cares for himself due to a non-existent mother and a preoccupied father who obsesses over proving the existence of aliens. This turmoil may be slightly disturbing to younger viewers when the filth and mess that Luis lives in without his basic needs being properly met draws the attention of the school principal, who becomes convinced that Luis should be taken from his father and placed in a boarding school run by a scary headmistress. The efforts of these administrators, who become the antagonists, traumatize Luis into attempting an escape with the help of his alien friends who have landed on Earth. All sorts of fun ensues when he decides to travel back to the alien’s home planet to live since his own father does not appear to want him.
The three aliens have great comic chemistry in a Three Stooges-sort-of manner, and the tricks they are able to pull keep the escapades engaging, and at times, hilarious. Their ability to transform themselves into humans—such as Luis’s father and the husband and wife neighbors—is laugh-out-loud hysterical as the transformations are less than perfect with funny misplaced teeth poking out and eyeballs not situated quite right.
The ultimate car chase brings new and unexpected aliens on the scene—one in particular who has been disguised as a human all along but is in fact a scary dragon-like creature that preys on the tears of lonely children like Luis. The climactic ending and heartfelt resolution perfectly fit the fun and upbeat nature of this film.
The Dove Take
In spite of the grim circumstances that are Luis’s reality, this film manages to stay light and fun with plenty of comic relief, and Luis is eventually able to voice his pain and loss to his father, who has a powerful realization and shares his own heart with his son. The open expression of love and forgiveness makes way for Luis’s sense of worthiness and for much-needed reconciliation.
We award Luis and the Aliens the Dove-Approved All Ages Seal for its positive lessons about love, forgiveness, and reconciliation.